Biochar for a sustainable EAF steel production

The previous GREENEAF project (RFSR-CT-2009-00004) has demonstrated the feasibility of utilization of char, from biomass, as substitute of coal into the EAF. The present project objective was to make the char use a standard practice.
Therefore, the following activities have been carried out:

  • char laboratory characterizations to check the capability of the material to replace coal in industrial trials, both for charging and injection procedures,
  • identification of most suitable injections systems
  • analysis of EAF behaviour in case of char and biomass use during long-time industrial trials
  • Life Cycle Assessment study, as regard to inventory issues.

Industrial trials of EAF charging confirmed the feasibility of coal substitution and outlined the relevant process aspects: basket preparation to avoid material burning before dissolution into molten steel and EAF post combustion to recovery the energy content of the char volatile matter.
In case of injection trials, a wide range of possibilities has been exploited: biochar, biochar mixed with fossil coal and virgin ligneous biomass. The best slag foaming, comparable with the pulverised fossil coal injection has been obtained with virgin biomass.
Outlined energy saving with EAF equipped for post combustion and tailored char production form low grade biomass showed that char utilization is economically sustainable.


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Echterhof, T.; Demus, T.; Pfeifer, H.; Schlinge, L.; Schliephake, H.: Investigation of palm kernel shells as a substitute for fossil carbons in a 140 t DC Electric Arc Furnace, 11th European Electric Steelmaking Conference & Expo, 25.-27. Mai 2016, Venedig, Italien

Echterhof, T.; Demus, T.; Schlinge, L.; Schliephake, H.; Pfeifer, H.: Use of palm kernel shells as a substitute for charge coal in a 140 t DC Electric Arc Furnace, SCANMET V – 5th International Conference on Process Development in Iron and Steelmaking, 12.-15. Juni 2016, Lulea, Sweden

Demus, T.; Reichel, T.; Schulten, M.; Echterhof, T.; Pfeifer, H.: Increasing the sustainability of steel production in the electric arc furnace by substituting fossil coal with biochar agglomerates, Ironmaking & Steelmaking, 43 (2016), Nr. 8, pp. 564-570

Meier, T.; Hay, T.; Echterhof, T.; Pfeifer, H.; Rekersdrees, T.; Schlinge, L.; Elsabagh, S.; Schliephake, H.: Process Modeling and Simulation of Biochar Usage in an Electric Arc Furnace as a Substitute for Fossil Coal, steel research international, 88 (2017), Nr. 9, 1600458

Final report

Marcos, M.; Bianco, L.; Cirilli, F.; Reichel, T.; Baracchini, G.; Echterhof, T.; Rekersdrees, T.; Mirabile, D.; Griessacher, T.; Sommerauer, H.: Biochar for a sustainable EAF steel production (GREENEAF2), EUR29517, Publications Office of the European Union, (2019), Luxembourg

Logo ECThis research received funding from the European Community’s Research Fund for Coal and Steel (RFCS) under grant agreement n° RFSP-CT-2014-00003.